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Chelsea celebrated winning the Premier League at Stamford Bridge as the Blues defeated Watford 4-3 on Monday night.
Captain John Terry scored the opener during a rare start for the defender, but the Hornets equalised just a minute later as Etienne Capoue latched on to the former England skipper’s error.
Cesar Azpilicueta restored the hosts’ lead shortly before half-time as the new champions moved through the gears.
Michy Batshuayi grabbed a third for the Blues at the start of the second half, but Daryl Janmaat stunned the home fans with an individual effort to make it 3-2.
Watford supporters were overjoyed as Stefano Okaka came off the bench to make it 3-3 with 16 minutes remaining, but Cesc Fabregas saved Chelsea’s blushes with a winner in the 87th minute.
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Chelsea manager Antonio Conte fielded a rotated side as he gave a number of his fringe players minutes. Batshuayi was rewarded with his first start in England’s top league. Nathaniel Chalobah was also given his full debut in the competition, with Kenedy given his first start of the league campaign.
Watford drafted in Nordin Amrabat, Tom Cleverley and M’Baye Niang in a revamped starting XI as the visitors attempted to spoil the party at the Bridge.
Blues supporters were soon on their feet after the opening whistle as Terry forced the ball home past goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes after 22 minutes.
The iconic defender was quickest to react as the ball dropped into the box from a corner, and Terry made sure he grabbed a magical moment in one of his expected final games for the club.
Former Chelsea star Michael Ballack hailed the strike:
Michael Ballack @Ballack
Well done #JohnTerry 1st goal this season 👍👌⚽️ 👊
5/15/2017, 7:32:13 PM
However, Terry’s celebrations were cut short only seconds later as the defender presented the ball to Capoue for the equaliser.
The skipper misplaced his header, allowing the Hornets player to tuck the ball away with aplomb.
B/R Football highlighted the highs and lows for the Chelsea centre-back:
Order was restored nine minutes before half-time as Azpilicueta scored Chelsea’s second of the night.
The strike once again resulted from a set piece, and the Spain international was clinical as he lashed his effort past Gomes.
WhoScored.com highlighted the vital statistics during the interval:
Chelsea 2-1 Watford HT: Willian (6) completed more dribbles than the Watford team combined (3) in the first half https://t.co/48yfCcuRfS https://t.co/NGzmBnsXzA
5/15/2017, 7:52:01 PM
Two quick goals at the start of the second half set up an exciting spectacle for the watching fans.
Batshuayi stroked the ball home for the Blues after 49 minutes, only to see Watford’s Janmaat score a wonderful individual effort to beat stopper Asmir Begovic.
The visitors remained competitive throughout the rest of the match, determined not to allow Chelsea to have an easy night in west London.
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Watford’s travelling fans were in rapture after 74 minutes as substitute Okaka fired home to make it 3-3, just seconds after arriving into the game from the bench.
Cleverley expertly found the striker in the box, and he delivered a composed finished as Conte appeared surprised on the touchline.
Sports reporter Ian Abrahams commented on the shock equaliser:
Ian Abrahams (Moose) @BroadcastMoose
GOAL Okaka with his first touch as a sub levels for Watford 3-3 here now https://t.co/p0oMETQCPM
5/15/2017, 8:33:41 PM
Watford appeared the more likely side to find a winner as they pummelled Chelsea with energy and running.
However, the champions proved why they are this season’s elite team in England, and Fabregas was the hero of the hour as he came off the bench to score his side’s fourth just three minutes from time.
Chelsea struggled with their rotated options on the night, but they crawled over the line against a spirited Watford side who gave as good as they got.
Sebastian Prodl capped an eventful evening for Watford as he was sent off for a second yellow card in the final moments.